Weighing only 6.8 pounds empty, the Daniel Defense M4V1 Lightweight…

Weighing only 6.8 pounds empty, the Daniel Defense M4V1 Lightweight lives up to its name—and it’s still incredibly strong. Shown with an Aimpoint PRO.

Daniel Defense is committed to providing small arms solutions that are lighter, stronger and better. This philosophy is nothing more than a continuation of Daniel Defense founder Marty Daniel’s desire to greatly improve his personal M16 rifle. He could not buy what he wanted, so he designed and created what he needed. His creations were so good and sought after that the company became a supplier of AR-15 accessories to the U.S. military and consumers worldwide. Now, Daniel Defense offers complete rifles.

A lot of police departments select patrol rifles based on price. The same is true for civilians and even the military. Retail prices for mil-spec AR-15-type rifles are as varied as the weapon platform is adaptable—prices can range from about $600 to four times that much. Consumers, whether military, law enforcement or civilian, must decide what they can afford.

Being able to afford something is one thing, but getting what you need and what you can rely on is another. If you purchase an AR-15 to ride shotgun in your patrol car, it must work every time you need it, no matter the situation. It simply needs to be as indestructible as possible. Because Daniel Defense designs and builds their ARs with military service in mind, toughness is a priority. The last thing Daniel Defense wants to hear is that a soldier failed his mission because they failed to deliver a rugged rifle. So, Daniel Defense created a torture test just to prove the strength of their M4V1 carbine.

One of the many factors contributing to its accuracy, the M4V1 features a crisp, predictable trigger that broke at 6 pounds.

The test was broken down into six segments. First, Daniel Defense buried the M4V1, recovered it and made sure it ran. Then the rifle was submerged in water, removed, drained and fired. So far, so good. Part three was the shrapnel test. To simulate a shrapnel blast, Daniel Defense actually shot the test rifle with a 12-gauge shotgun loaded with #8 lead shot from a distance of 15 yards. After this brutal test, the rifle remained functional and accurate. If that weren’t enough, Daniel Defense launched the M4V1 onto a gravel road from a vehicle traveling 20 mph, and then ran it over with another vehicle going the same speed. Again, it still proved reliable and accurate when firing immediately afterward. Then came the blast test, where the rifle was slung on a steel target 5 feet away from 25 pounds of explosives. After the explosion, the rifle functioned reliably. Finally, the M4V1 was dropped from heights of 6, 30 and 100 feet. As with the previous tests, the rifle remained accurate and reliable.

The M4V1 Lightweight has an A2-style pistol grip that is serrated in all the right places for better handling characteristics.

I mention this because cops and especially soldiers are thrust into situations that are very dynamic and violent. If their guns are not capable of surviving rugged treatment like this test simulated, they may find themselves armed with nothing but a club. Sure, you can buy a similarly configured AR-15 for about half the price of a Daniel Defense M4, but can you trust it to be rugged enough to be ready when you need it? With their torture test, Daniel Defense has established this well in advance of you or your department writing a check.

Gun Details

The newest AR-15 from Daniel Defense is the M4V1 Lightweight. This is a direct impingement-driven AR with a 16-inch, light-contour, chrome-moly-vanadium, cold-hammer-forged barrel. It is built on mil-spec upper and lower receivers and has a 5.56mm NATO chamber. It is also fitted with a Magpul MOE buttstock and mil-spec receiver extension. Aside from the small-contoured barrel, this is all pretty much business as usual for Daniel Defense. However, this rifle has some special things going for it.

To start with, it’s fitted with a 12-inch-long Daniel Defense Omega X Rail. This rail allows users to mount accessories in the three, six, nine and 12 o’clock positions. There are 29 slots on the bottom rail and 28 slots on each side rail. The top rail is unique in that it has a 2.18-inch opening for the fixed “F”-marked front sight to protrude through. Three, 18-slot rubber rail ladder pads come with the rifle. These can be installed or cut to a desired size and installed on the Omega X Rail to satisfy shooter comfort. Note that the new DDM4 Rails are now standard on these rifles. While slightly narrower, the DDM4 Rail has front and rear sling adaptors integrated into both the left and right side rails. Instead of being mounted with six bolts, the DDM4 Rail only requires four bolts.

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